Jack of not all trades, yet Master of one!
PROS: neutral revealing tonality, holographic soundstage, small footprint and minimalistic design, high output current head-amp, partitioned battery power design.
CONS: micro-HDMI connector with a proprietary charger, very minimalistic interface which is still work in progress, needs iEMatch with low impedance/sensitive iems.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Many audio enthusiasts are familiar with a phrase that it’s not about the component but its implementation. Yet, I was still skeptical when heard a buzz about the new kid on the block with a flagship sound quality boutique DAP designed around one AK4490 DAC with a single-ended output. It was hard to ignore it when more and more people approached me with either their impressions or asking if I’m going to review this DAP. When Anson Tse, the creator of Dethonray DTR1 Prelude, reached out to me directly, I decided to give it a shot.
Prior to getting my hands on this DAP, I had a number of discussions with Anson, learning about his background, his design philosophy, and his work with over 10 years of experience in audio field. And knowing my review background while covering the latest touch screen feature-packed players, Anson also wanted to make sure I have an open mind when approaching his minimalistic audio playback only DAP. There was no pressure to review it, just to give it a listen and to provide a feedback. But after a few weeks with DTR1, I felt it was time for a full review.
If you are after a touch screen audio player with a fancy GUI and all kinds of bells’n’whistles, this DAP is probably not for you. But if your #1, #2, and #3 priority is the sound quality and nothing else, you might be interested to find out more about DTR1.
Unboxing and Accessories.
DTR1 arrived in a premium looking packaging with a company name/logo in silver print on top of the sleeve. Once removed and after lifting the magnetic box cover, DAP was securely placed in a foam cutout at the top. At a glance, it looked very compact. Underneath, there was an envelope with a quick start guide, a warranty card, and also a wall charger.
It’s a small printed guide but has a lot of useful info, including instructions how to upgrade the fw and a detailed description of all the controls. The wall charger cable is not removable and has micro-HDMI connector to DTR1. I know, it’s going to puzzle many people why you would lock yourself into a less common micro-HDMI connector and a proprietary charging cable.
From what I understand, this connector has 19 pins which can bring in and out more signals, adding more functionality in a future. The wall charger is custom designed with +8.6V (600mA) and -8.6V (300mA) outputs for quick charging the internal higher voltage batteries. The charger has red/green LED indicator which stays red while charging and turns green when charging is done.
Soon the Dethonray will be offering these chargers for sale, as a replacement or as a spare when traveling. Also, just a comment but considering there is no USB/HDMI cable to connect DTR1 to your computer and since you have to remove microSD card to copy files, it would be useful in a future to include microSD card adapter or USB reader with accessories.